Imatges de pÓgina
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God

But, however, I doubt not but that God may in ano-What other ther manner make Provision for the honest sober Pagans in Provision another World; for in that very Verse; in which our

may

make for Saviour says, He goes to prepare a Place for us Christians ; them. he tells us, That in his Father's House are many Mansions. There are many glorious Places or Seats in the Universe, unto which these good. People may be transferred, there to enjoy a considerable Happiness, though very unequal to the joys of our Christian Paradise. Our Mansion or State of Happiness seems to be the choicest of all the rest, one of our Saviour's own choosing and taking up. In my Father's House are many Mansions ; if it were not so, I would have told you ; I go to prepare a Place for you. It is a Mecaphor taken from a Harbinger's Office : And the Sense is this : Let not your Hearts be troubled, ye

believe in God, believe also in me. In my Fathers House, &c. I would . not have you dismayed upon my Sufferings, and be diftrustful about your future State, upon your being initiated into a new Sect of Religion, as if you were not to enjoy so much Happiness hereafter as the Jews, or other Sects of religious Worship in the World shall ; for in my Father's House are many Mansions; there shall be some Degrees of Happiness, some Seat of Blessedness for good Peoplé of all sorts; But I go and prepare a Place for you, I who am the beloved of my Father, and the chiefest in his Glory, will obtain a Place of the most extraordinary Hapo piness for you to abide in.

So that at last, though it should be granted, that you Theists, that have had a Christian Education, should be admitted to the State of good Pagans in another World; yet you are a very narrow-fould People, that you will aspire to no higher a Degree of Happiness, when it lies eafý before you, only by maintaining your Gospel-Coves nant, which in your Baptism you have engaged to.

Phil. That is more, Credentius, than I have Faith to believe yet; I have a great many Rubs to get over, before I can come to that. But, however, I have no Abhorrence to your Christian Worship, I can go to your Churches upon Occasion, hear a Sermon, and say my Prayers with

you,

you, without any Check of Conscience at all. I have no Reason to think, but I might lawfully go to an Indian Paged, and worship the supreme Deity, though under the Representation of a horse-faced Irnage. I should never stick out to pray to him lamong Mahometans in a Turkish Mosque, or hear Mass in a Popish Chapel; nay, I am of Opinion, I might, as one expresses it, Summi Entis vim adorare in flosculo *, adore the Power of the supreme Being in a little Flower. For the principal part of all Religions is the same, viz. Morality and a good Life, and the common Notions of Good and Evil; so that I do but laugh at all the little Squabbles of so many angry Sects in the World one with the other; for my Part I fall out with none of them, for they all agree with me as far as my Crecd goes, so that I have no Reason to forbear Communion with the worst of them. Indeed most of them have added fome Superstructures of their own to natural Religion, which I do not approve ; but I can ftep over a hundred Things of this Nature, for the sake of Peace and Unity. And to speak freely, I could never approve your Christian Zeal and earnest Prayer, to have all the World of the same Christian Religion ; for, as the King of Siam las observed, the Diversity of religious Worships is one of the great Beauties of the Universe. For fays that wife Prince to the Person who came to him in the Name of an Embassador from the French King, and proposed to him his turning Christian, I wonder that Prince

Should so busy himself in a Matter relating to God, for which there is no Sign that God does shew any Concern himself, as leaving it altogether to Man's Discretion. For (says he) the true God who created Heaven and Earth, and all the Creatures comprehended therein, and who has endowed them with Natures and Inclinations so varions, had it pleased him, when he gave Men Bodies and Souls alike, he could have infused into then the fame Sentiments of the Religion they were to profefs, and have unised all Nations under one Lm. But 'tis võvious, tha Providence permits Variety of Sects and Opinia ons, because God takes as much Pleasure to be adored with different - Forms of Worship and Ceremonies, as to be glorified by the wonderful Diverfiry of his Creatures, whose various Beauties set forth his infinite Power. So that, in short, Credentiss, I think it every Man's Dury to comply with the Religion established in his Country, whatever his private Thoughts may be concerning it; and that God Almighty is latisfied with the inward Worship of the Mind, though for Peace Sake he complies with an erroneous outward one. But, however, I hold his Folly inexcufable, that will expose himself to Suffering and Contempt, rather than comply with a few simple Niceties, which particular Sects and Nations are fond of; when all of them own natural Religion for their Foundation. In a Word, as some have boasted themselves to be Citizens, so I am a Church-man of the whole World; and though you perhaps may be offended åt me for an extravagant Latitudinarian, yet I am sure I have more Reason on my Side, than those narrow-lould People, that are hedging in Salvation, and keeping their Communion only within the Bounds of a little paltry Sect.

* in Epistle of a Deis in Prizcovius's Works, p. 600.

ons,

Cred. I thank you, Sir, for this great Freedom, for Nor indifby this Frankness you have laid open the very Soul of ferent, to Deism; but withal have given such a vile Character of it

, Religion. as ng honest Man would be very fond of embracing it.

I am afraid there are too great a Number of Men in the : World of these Sentiments, and by whom Religion suffers more than by avow'd Atheists; for those are open and generous Enemies, whilst the other are striking at the Virals of the Church, as they lie fofter'd in her Bofom. But that you may understand how unreasonable and wicked this Opinion is, be pleased with me a little to consider,

1. What horrid Hypocrisy and Diffimulation it is, to 'Tis Hypo: communicate with a Religion, that you do not believe crisy. a Tittle of the Truth of. There cannot be a greater Falsity and Cheat in all the World than this is. To tell a Lie, or to ađ a shuffling Trick in bargaining, or the like, seldom deceives but a very few; but such a wicked Dilimulation, in Matters of Religion, deceives a whole

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Congregation, or it may be in a Man of Figure, a whole Nation This is the bafest Act which any Man of Honour, or any Pretence to Virtue can condescend to, so perfidiously to deny the Truth, to make Use of such false · Arts, and such little creeping Tricks, to persue an Advantage. But what is worst of all, it is the most intolerable Affront toʻGod Almighty that can be imagined, to offer to pay a Worship to him, which we are conscious, - that neither he nor our felves do approve, and to join in Pravers and Devotions, which we know must be an Abo

mination to him. Which must, Sometimes

2. Be more wicked, when the Worship you join with Idoia:ry. is downright idolatrous. What Excuse can you make

for worshiping or falling down before a Popish Hoft, which you believe to be only a Wafer, and you pay to it the - Worship due to the fupreme God? How can you with· out Horrot think of worshiping an Indian Idol

, with Pretence it is but a Symbol of the Deity, when 'tis generally but the Representation of some horrid Figure the Devil uses to appear to them in? You may talk what you please of the Extensiveness of your Communion; but I protest, I ath fcar'd at such a Religion as you pretend to, and I think you had better, with the Atheists, openly

bid Farewel to all, and lay Claim to none. I'Aorality

3. As to what you allert, that the Morality of all Re

ligions is the same, and is the principal part of them; I f.zme in allahink, that is a great Mistake. For many Religions are Religions. fo made up of ceremonious Foppery, that Morality is

little takon Notice of in them; and some retain such dangerous Errors and Faults in their Doctrine and Worship, that there is no Communion with them, without Violati. on of moral Honesty, or intrenching upon the Dictates of narural Religion. As when the Worship is idolatrous, u hen wrong and injurious Notions are entertain'd of God's

Nature, when dead Men, Devils, or Images have divine Ho: nours paid them; when Indulgences are granted to Sin, and

Crimes are pretended to be pardoned without Repentance; : when a good Intention ():all be allow'd to justify evil Adions, and the like. So that there is no communicating with

such

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such Religions, without committing an Offence acaint
the ordinary Rules, even of natural Religion, and focus
matically and perfidiously deserting that true Religia
we have been educated in.

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4. As to what you say concerning every Man's being it arsiya
obliged to be of the established Religion of his Country,
and to profess (to speak in the usual Way) all the Tales Religion ;
which the supreme Magistrate shall think fit to allow ; I
look upon this to be the wildest of all Hobbs's fily Para:
doxes. For if the Magistrate be the publick Conscience
by which all Men are to be governed, as he afferts, why
did God give every Man a Conscience of his own, which
natural Religion informs us, every one is to be governed
and judged by? There are very few Men can quiet their
own Consciences,after the Commission of a grievous Crimé,
only because their Prince might allow it ; or believe a Bal-
lad to be Holy Scripture, though there was an. Act of
Parliament to call it so. But if we must be of the Reli-
gion, which the Magistrate enjoins, we must make the
Magistrate, God Almighty; for no one has Authority
to command any religious Doctrine to be believed, but
God. Besides, this Opinion would make Religion the
most trifling and inconstant Thing in the World; a Mu
might change his Religion as often as he does his Cloaths;
and the poor Men of the Frontiers in Flanders should be
Papists, Calvinists, or Lutherans, three different Religions,
in so many Moons. This would be to render contempo-
ble the noblest Thing we are capable of doing, the Sér,
vice we owe to Almighty God, and to make it the Sport
and May-game of prophane and acheistical Men,

5. But whereas you allert, That God Almighey will sin outbe satisfied with the inward good Intention and Worship warily to of the Mind, whilst you outwardly comply with the comply : most false and erroneous Worship : This Opinion will faife Relied open a Gate to all the Deceit and Villany in the World. ion. Upon this Principle, Men may murder and steal, for the Glory of God; and cut Men's Throats, to save their Souls. There would be no tying any Man by Oath or £ompact; lingua juravi, mentem injuratam gero, would

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